A tri­umph of de­sign and func­tion from Cap­com

Bray People - - ENTERTAINMENT -

FUNNILY enough, the most jar­ring thing about Res­i­dent Evil 7: Bio­haz­ard isn’t the all-new first-per­son cam­era, but the sub­tle and re­fined pre­sen­ta­tion of the game as a whole. The con­vo­luted mythol­ogy, ab­surd melo­drama and ham-fisted ac­tion se­quences of the most re­cent Res­i­dent Evil re­leases have all taken a step back, leav­ing space for an evoca­tive, slow-burn­ing and de­light­fully ter­ri­fy­ing game to come to the fore.

Res­i­dent Evil 7 stars Ethan Win­ters, a man whose in­ces­sant quest for his miss­ing wife leads him to a sleepy, grim bayou in Louisiana . Once there, Ethan finds him­self kid­napped and tor­tured by a fam­ily of mur­der­ous can­ni­bals known as the Bak­ers. Both in the specifics and gen­eral tone of its seem­ingly stand-alone story, much of Res­i­dent Evil 7 is a de­par­ture from the zom­bie out­break roots of the series at large.

Just like the orig­i­nal Res­i­dent Evil, Bio­haz­ard’s game­play is largely cen­tered in and around the Baker res­i­dence - a sin­gle large house. The vast ma­jor­ity of the game’s 10 to 12 hour run time is de­voted to be­com­ing in­ti­mately fa­mil­iar with ev­ery nook and cranny the house has to of­fer. If you wish stand any chance of sur­vival and peace of mind in this vi­o­lent and eerie world, then you will have to scour ev­ery cor­ner of the house for re­sources, as well as mem­o­ris­ing se­cret pas­sage­ways and work­ing out which doors you can hide be­hind.

These last two points are par­tic­u­larly no­table, be­cause not since I last played Am­ne­sia: The Dark De­scent (the most blood-cur­dling- ly ter­ri­fy­ing game I have ever ex­pe­ri­enced) have I felt so scared and help­less in a vir­tual world. This feel­ing is only com­pounded by the fact that Ethan is not a mus­cle-bound killing ma­chine, but sim­ply a reg­u­lar guy with no com­bat ex­pe­ri­ence what­so­ever.

Be­cause of this, the best op­tion is of­ten to run and we all know that the only thing more ter­ri­fy­ing than star­ing down im­pend­ing doom is hav­ing it snatch­ing at your coat tails.

Of course, be­ing a Res­i­dent Evil game, com­bat is also an op­tion, though maybe not quite as vi­able a one as in pre­vi­ous re­leases. While an overly slow cam­era sen­si­tiv­ity might be a com­paint for most shoot­ers, the com­bi­na­tion of that and the first-per­son view only serves to ramp up the ten­sion to jaw-clench­ing lev­els.

Go­ing solely on the cal­ibur of pre­vi­ous Res­i­dent Evil ti­tles, if Res­i­dent Evil 7 had been half the game it is I would have been pleas­antly sur­prised. As it stands, Res­i­dent Evil 7: Bio­haz­ard is an ab­so­lute tri­umph of de­sign and func­tion from Cap­com.

In Res­i­dent Evil 7: Bio­haz­ard , gone are the con­vo­luted mythol­ogy, ab­surd melo­drama and ham-fisted ac­tion se­quences of the most re­cent Res­i­dent Evil re­leases, leav­ing space for an evoca­tive, slow­burn­ing and de­light­fully ter­ri­fy­ing game to come to the fore.

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